* “Long” Treasuries investors rise modestly in latest week
* Share of “short” investors falls from 20-month high
NEW YORK, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Investors added to their stakes in U.S. Treasuries on rising worries about possible deep federal spending cuts, which would hurt economic growth and the stock market, a private survey released on Wednesday showed.
The increase in ownership of U.S. government debt was modest on the week, curbed by mildly encouraging economic data and speculation on how soon the Federal Reserve might stop its bond purchases to support the economic recovery.
In the latest survey from J.P. Morgan Securities, 13 percent of its Treasuries clients said on Tuesday they were “long” U.S. government debt or owning more Treasuries than their benchmarks
This was up from 11 percent the previous week and matching the level seen two weeks ago.
On Wednesday, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes stood at 2.03 percent, little changed versus Tuesday’s close. The 10-year note yield has been hovering near 2 percent for the past three weeks, while Wall Street stocks have been clinging near five-year highs.
While the increase in Treasuries suggested some safe-haven demand for bonds, there were still plenty of investors who were concerned about rising interest rates and bond yields when the Fed stops bonds purchases and/or the economy gathers momentum.
In the latest survey, 28 percent of investors said they were “short” Treasuries, or owning fewer Treasuries than their benchmarks.
This was lower than last week’s 30 percent, which was the highest level of “shorts” since June 13, 2011, J.P. Morgan said.
The share of investors surveyed who said they were “neutral” on U.S. government debt, or holding Treasuries equal to their portfolio benchmarks, was unchanged from last week at 59 percent.
Within the survey, 62 percent of active clients, including market makers and hedge funds, who are viewed as taking on speculative bets in Treasuries, expected Treasury yields to rise in the latest week.
The compared with 46 percent the previous week.
The share of active longs held steady at 8 percent for a third straight week, while the share of neutrals among active clients fell to 30 percent from 46 percent last week.